After the Temple
After the Temple
In the late fourth century, the biblical translator and monk Jerome described the Jews coming to observe the ninth day of the month of Ab, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple. "Overcome with mourning," he wrote, they "are prohibited from entering Jerusalem. So that they may be allowed to weep over the ruins of their own city they pay a hefty price, and those who shed Christ's blood now shed their own tears."
Once a majority in the land, the Jews became personae non gratae in their own spiritual capital after A.D. 70. Most fled north to cities like Nazareth and Sepphoris in Galilee. Some fled to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. A few moved south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to a small area called Daroma ("South" in Aramaic). Archaeological discoveries of Jewish ritual baths and stone vessels show that daily Jewish life continued in various places throughout the land—but not in Jerusalem.
The Jews' fortunes depended on who was emperor at the time and what mood he was in. In the fourth century, Constantine gave Count Joseph of Tiberias, a Jewish believer in Christ, permission to build churches in Sepphoris (then known as Diocaesarea), Tiberias, Capernaum, and Nazareth—all in Galilee. But after Constantine died in 337, his sons began to restrain Jewish populations throughout the empire. The emperors Theodosius II and Justinian codified these anti-Jewish sentiments into laws—for example, seizing the property of any Christian who converted to Judaism. But Jews were not stripped of citizenship and were usually allowed to maintain their own customs. At the other extreme was Emperor Julian (362-365), called "the Apostate" because he tried to reestablish pagan ...